Holmgren made his announcement in the SportsCenter.
“The process was difficult,” Holmgren told ESPN. “I had to study a lot along the way. I had to reach out to others and get their advice. My dad went over it and trained Larry Suggs with Jalen. I kept getting consistent advice that I would get a feel when I know.” Not analyzing everything because everything sounds good. Nobody sells their weaknesses.
“It was [Gonzaga’s] consistent approach to how versatile they are on the pitch and how offensive they are. They take their talent and optimize their system based on their staff. They know how to put it all together. “
Coach Mark Few and the Zags were considered favorites for Holmgren when he opted for college, but choosing the G League was an option as well. Other schools involved were Ohio State, Michigan, North Carolina, Minnesota, Memphis, and Georgetown.
“He’s a super honest stand-up guy,” said Holmgren of a few. “He’s a fan of the game and I hear he’s a good fisherman too. He keeps learning about the game and loves what he does.”
Holmgren, a Minnehaha Academy, Minnesota center, officially visited the state of Ohio and Gonzaga before the coronavirus pandemic essentially ceased personal recruitment. He also made unofficial trips to Minnesota, Maryland, and Georgetown. His father, Dave Holmgren, played basketball in Minnesota.
Chet Holmgren is a close friend and a former high school and AAU teammate of Jalen Suggswho just ended a stellar season for newbies at Gonzaga and is a top 5 pick in this summer’s NBA draft.
“He’s been a big influence,” he said of Suggs. “He’s someone I know and trust. We had a lot of casual conversations. He’s both a friend and a teammate. I could hear it firsthand from him. I would see him play and see the team then we’d talk. It’s a culture in which everyone is ready to work. “
Holmgren had a dominant senior year for Minnehaha last season averaging 20.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.7 blocks while shooting 80% off the field. Minnehaha won their fourth straight championship earlier this month, with Holmgren scoring 18 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists for an 80-29 win in the Class AAA championship game.
Holmgren is one of the most unique perspectives in the game. He is the biggest mismatch in high school and will also be in college game because of his 3-point shooting ability, indoor play, and physical readings. Holmgren is a world class shot blocker with extraordinary instincts for protecting the rim. Offensive, he shows unusual versatility with his ability to score, ball handling and praise catching. His movements are fluid and agile, show great coordination and secure hands. He’s playing with an edge, and his game has been compared to that of Kristaps Porzingis of the Dallas Mavericks.
“”[The plan is to] Listen and learn and earn all I get, “said Holmgren.” I will be able to use my versatility at both ends. Slide it off the glass and go. I can turn on an attack and turn on defense if necessary. “
Holmgren is the second five-star recruit to be inducted into Gonzaga’s class in the past few weeks, after Hunter Sallis, the No. 3 Point Guard, who made a commitment in late March. ESPN 100 Power Forward Kaden Perry will also join the round next season, while ESPN 100 Forward Ben Gregg graduated from high school early and enrolled for the second half of last season. Rounding out the group is Fanbo Zeng, the No. 33 prospect in the 2022 class who was reclassified to 2021 before returning to China to finish his high school career. Zeng is expected to enroll in Gonzaga this summer.
Suggs became the highest-ranking recruit in program history when he signed up last spring, but Holmgren is now accepting the honor; He is the first No. 1 prospect to get involved with Gonzaga.
This is another step forward in the Zags’ evolution into a true power over the past two decades. Gonzaga had made one game too little history earlier this month and lost in the national championship game to Baylor, the Bulldogs’ first defeat of the season. It was the second time in five seasons that they reached the national title game.
Few’s program has won at least 30 games for five consecutive seasons and has the longest streak of Sweet 16 appearances in the nation, most recently knocked out in the first two rounds of the 2014 NCAA tournament.
Gonzaga opened the off-season as number 1 in ESPN’s Top 25 is way too early.